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RefWorks Migration Guide: Home

The purpose of this guide is to help you transfer your bibliographic records from RefWorks to another citation management tool.

What's happening?

VIU's RefWorks subscription will end on September 30, 2017. It is recommended that all students and employees that actively use RefWorks migrate to a different citation management tool before this date.

What do I need to do?

If you wish to keep your RefWorks citations and folders, you will need to export them to another citation management tool before September 30, 2017. You can find information on alternative tools and how to migrate in the Mendeley and Zotero tabs above.

Why isn't RefWorks being renewed?

In the past few years, RefWorks has seen declining use. This is due in part to the availability of free alternatives, such as Mendeley and Zotero, the switch to hosting outside of Canada, and also the fact that many users only need to generate fast citations, which many information sources now support within their own platforms. At the same time, redevelopment of the RefWorks application over many months has meant that  they are no longer updating commonly used tools, such as Write N' Cite,which has led to confusion and frustration for users. While the new RefWorks is available, it is lacking in important functionality and doesn’t appear to be approaching completion anytime soon.

What are the alternatives? Which should I use?

Which you use depends on the features or functionality that you need. If you need only to generate quick citations, the “saved items” function of LibrarySearch may suit your needs. If you want to save citations for later use and organize them in folders, either Mendeley or Zotero support those purposes. Below is a Venn diagram that compares the two, and there are links to other comparisons below.

Adapted from York University Libraries' Zotero vs Mendeley Comparison as well as a comparison Venn diagram from University of British Columbia Libraries.

Comparison pages:

Zotero vs Mendeley Comparson - York University Libraries

Zotero vs Mendeley - HLWIKI

Migrating from RefWorks

There are two ways to migrate from RefWorks. One is quicker, but does not preserve your folders. The other takes longer, but lets you keep your folder structure.

Option 1: Do not preserve folders

  1. Login to your RefWorks account.
  2. Hover over "View" then on "All References"
  3. Hover over "References" and click "Export"
  4. Select "Bibliographic Software" as the export format.
  5. Click "Export References"
  6. A .txt file should automatically download. Depending on your browser settings, (pop-ups, etc) you may have to accept the download first. Some browsers may also just display the .txt file rather than downloading it. In this case, you will need to copy and save the text as a .txt file using Notepad or a similar application.
  7. Import to Mendeley or Zotero (see respective pages)

Option 2: Preserve folders

  1. Login to your RefWorks account.
  2. View the contents of one of your folders.
  3. Hover over "References" and click "Export"
  4. Select "Bibliographic Software" as the export format.
  5. Click "Export References"
  6. A .txt file should automatically download. Depending on your browser settings, (pop-ups, etc) you may have to accept the download first. Some browsers may also just display the .txt file rather than downloading it. In this case, you will need to copy and save the text as a .txt file using Notepad or a similar application.
  7. Repeat steps 2 - 6 for each folder.
  8. Import each folder to Mendeley or Zotero (see respective pages)